Permaculture Principles and Exo: #2 "Catch and Store Energy"

This is the second in a series of 15 posts that will comment on permaculture co-founder’s David Holmgren’s 15 permaculture principles ( and how they might cross-fertilize with what I call “exopermaculture,” bridging Above (the cosmic, other-dimensional, extraterrrestrial, etc.) and Below (life on Earth, on the land and in community). Please realize that these remarks are tentative, exploratory. I don’t pretend to “know what I’m talking about. ” I’m a philosopher, not an expert! My goal for this entire site is to stimulate discussion.

This icon represents energy being stored in a container for use later on, while the proverb ‘make hay while the sun shines’ reminds us that we have a limited time to catch and store energy.”

Permaculturists utilize obvious flows of water, air, and sunlight. Plus, of course, the natural flows of soil and its nutrients, plants, insects, birds, animals, even rocks and minerals. Anything that can be said to be in motion is, in essence, a “flow.” By this criterion, everything in the material world is flow, doomed to come into form, engage in a series of complex, changing relationships while undergoing continuous change itself, and dissolve back into the void. “Everything flows and nothing abides;. Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.”— Heraclitus.

But even staying within the usual common-sense view of media that tangibly, or at least visibly flow, exopermaculture might include other types of flow that are in current parlance, if a bit more esoteric: e.g. the chi field, the plasma field, the proton belt, the zero-point energy field. .

As one who has practiced tai chi and chi kung for about ten years now on a daily basis, I am intimately familiar with the flow of chi through my own body and energetic field. Indeed, this bodily practice has helped me attune to and attempt to describe intangible, invisible currents like “energy” and “energetic fields.”

At this point in my practice, moving through the choreographed tai chi dance feels like moving through water. The slower I move, the stronger — thicker, sweeter — the chi field feels. So, though I’m not a scientist, and don’t know what any of these other fields might be, if they are anything like the chi field, then I bow to them as real.

More intangibles that relate to “energy” and “flow.” What happens when we, for example, pay attention to a plant? I think of the little fruit tree that was planted just outside the fence in our community garden, in line with two other fruit trees planted at the same time inside the fence.

None of us ever mentioned or noticed this little tree outside the fence. After two years, I finally focused my attention on it, and was amazed to see that it was about one-fourth the size of the other two trees! After the first summer, none of three received much extra water, so I instantly concluded that this little tree had not flourished because it was not included inside the consciousness field that we are creating inside the fence. True? I have no idea.

But it reminds me of Cleve Backster’s 1960s experiments in biocommunication with plants, famously documented in the 1973 book, The Secret Life of Plants. And it reminds me of those who have traveled in realms opened to them by plant medicinals like ayahuasca. They tell wondrous tales of other dimensions, other fields, if you will, where a different kind of energy prevails, and is stored, waiting for us to turn the key.

What about sunspots and solar flares radiating out into space, affecting the entire solar system? What about the claim put forth by David Wilcock ( and others that our solar system is now traveling through the “proton field,” a part of the galaxy that is warming all the planets, not just Earth?

What does all this mean? How much of it is “real,” or if not yet real, coming into being through the force of our imaginations making it real over time?

And for permaculturists, how do these not so obvious energetic flows, at their various levels of reality, affect the growing seasons; how do they affect the water, air, and soil; the cells, roots, stems, leaves, fruits, seeds of plants?

How do they affect the physiology, consciousness and behavior of animals? Of humans? How do they affect human capacity, energy, imagination, endurance, creativity? How do they impact the cultural dynamics of human communities?

One more question, and again it stems from my practice with my own body. I notice that when my body feels toxic and sluggish, that I “have” less energy, and “feel stuck.” When I clean my body, I “have” more energy.

But what is this energy that I say I “have.” Is it really mine? Actually, as a tai chi practitioner, I’d rephrase that common remark to say that when my energy meridians are clear, then the energy from the universe (the chi) can flow through without obstruction, rather than getting stuck (and eventually, causing disease).

To which I must conclude, “Catch and hold” is not always a good idea.

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